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Report: Outdoor Rec Generates $778B Annually


The second consecutive year of economic data on the outdoor rec industry by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has been released. For the first time, BEA also released preliminary data on the outdoor recreation economy at the state level for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Outdoor recreation makes up 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP, generating $778 billion in gross output and supporting 5.2 million jobs. In terms of economic output, boating/fishing, RVing, motorcycling/ATVing, hunting, shooting, trapping and equestrian sports are the five largest conventional outdoor recreation activities.

Outdoor recreation’s share of GDP is larger than a host of traditionally recognized industries, including mining, utilities, farming and ranching, and chemical products manufacturing.

The top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of each states’ total GDP are Hawaii, Montana, Maine, Vermont and Wyoming.

The top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of total U.S. GDP are California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas.

“These new numbers show what we have always known, that outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse to which the RV industry is a large contributor,” said RV Industry Association’s VP of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “The outdoor recreation economy deserves to be a national priority and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with leaders at the federal and state levels to implement policies that will ensure outdoor recreation continues to be a generator of American jobs for years to come.”

“Since introducing outdoor recreation statistics last year, it’s been good to hear businesspeople, policymakers and outdoor enthusiasts confirm the value of these data,” said Director of BEA Brian Moyer. “Today we’re taking these economic data to the next level by breaking them down by state, showing the impact of activities like bicycling, fishing, and skiing in the places where the equipment is made, the park fees are paid, and people have fun.”

“While this report contains many invaluable insights, there is one takeaway that bears repeating: The outdoor recreation industry – led by boating and fishing – has earned its seat at the decision-making table,” said the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Senior VP of Government and Legal Affairs Nicole Vasilaros. “Thanks to unwavering support from Sen. Cory Gardner, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Don Beyer, BEA was able to expand the study’s initial scope and shine a light on the tremendous economic benefits outdoor recreation activities provide in each state. Armed with this new, robust set of data, we will continue educating policymakers on actions they should take to promote and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities across the country.”

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